Monday, January 25, 2010
NEITHER THE SEA NOR THE SAND (1972) d. Fred Burnley
ENDLESS LOVE, ROMEO AND JULIET, and ZOMBIE are all stories of undying love. Love that transcends this life, wait a minute... ZOMBIE? NEITHER THE SEA NOR THE SAND is a love story with a zombie spin on it. What better way to prove your undying love by not dying? Well, that can get pretty gamey when your body dies, but your soul just won't leave. This is what Anna (portrayed by Susan Hampshire) finds out in this film. So break out the Vicks Vapor Rub to block the smell and enjoy this DVD.
Anna is on holiday in Jersey UK when she meets Hugh (Michael Petrovitch) who is a dashing young lighthouse keeper. The two quickly fall in love and a passionate love affair blooms. They run away together to Scotland for a romantic getaway and then Hugh dies suddenly. (I won't give away what happens. I try not to spoil the movie surprises for you all). Anna is in shock and nearly has a nervous breakdown when a local doctor declares him dead. Anna is clearly devastated. She wants Hugh back with all of her heart and soul. Hugh does come back, but he's not himself. He has very little energy, is confused and cannot talk. As time passes Hugh decomposes and Anna must make a choice between the land of the living and the land of the dead.
NEITHER THE SEA NOR THE SAND put a nice twist on the short story "The Monkey's Paw" that we all read in our 7th Grade English class. Wishes may come true with disasterous consequences. There's similar British film from Amicus in an anthology called TALES FROM THE CRYPT. It's much more gruesome than NEITHER THE SEA NOR THE SAND, which surprisingly had very little gore. The director could have gone all out with body parts flopping off at inconvienent moments, but alas, he was too much of a gentleman to conceive of such crude things. There's was no zombie chomping scenes either. So if you're a gore fan you might want to just watch CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD instead. Hugh is actually the cleanest zombie I've ever seen. The film relies more on atmosphere and tension for it's scare factor than on gross out gut ripping scenes.
The atmospheric setting of the Jersey shore is dark and windy in the film. It's mentioned that it's off season for the tourist town that Hugh resides in. There's plenty of scenes of ocean waves crashing and it seems a great part of the film takes place by the ocean. It's a great date movie for Valentine's Day so pick this up along with a bottle of Champale. NEITHER THE SEA NOR THE SAND would make a great triple feature with ENDLESS LOVE and LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE. The latter is a little gorey, so maybe you should hold off if your date is one of those squeemish people. But on the other hand, your date might get so scared he/she might jump into your arms for comfort. Think of the possibilites.